What are UPF fabrics?

UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor (think SPF but for fabrics). UPF measures how much of the sun’s UVB and UVA radiation is reaching your skin. For example, a regular white cotton t-shirt has a rating of UPF 5 and a denim jacket has a rating of UPF 50+. The denim jacket only allowed 1/50th (or 2%) of the sun's rays to reach your skin. In other words it blocked, or absorbed, 98%. That's pretty cool.

But since wearing a denim jumpsuit to the beach may not be the most practical thing to do, I searched for other fabrics that offered the same level of protection but were also breathable and light weight. 

Synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon are best at accomplishing this combination of high protection (due to the density of the weave) and breathable enough for hot summer days. SOLĀYA swimwear is made with a ribbed polyester and matte nylon fabric. 

The matte Creora® HighClo™ nylon also provides the highest level of chlorine resistance, shape hold, and comfortable 4-way stretch. This fabric meets the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certification and HIGG Index Certification. These certifications showcase the commitment to creating textiles in an ethical and sustainable manner across the entire value chain.

When looking at UPF clothing there are a lot of considerations but here are 4 simple C's to keep in mind:

Coverage: The more skin your outfit covers, the better your protection. Whenever possible, choose long-sleeved shirts and long pants or skirts.

Color: Dark or bright colors keep UV rays from reaching your skin by absorbing them rather than allowing them to penetrate. That’s why these colors offer better protection than lighter shades.

Construction: Densely woven cloth, like denim, canvas, wool or synthetic fibers, are more protective than sheer, thin or loosely woven cloth. 

Content: Shiny polyesters and even lightweight satiny silks can be highly protective because they reflect radiation. 


For more information on UPF clothing and best practices for sun protection check out skincancer.org


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